Loading Events

Events Calendar

4th Annual LGBT Law Symposium

« Back to Events

  • This event has passed.


March 21, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


The University of Mississippi School of Law


Cory Ferraez

The University of Mississppi School of Law OUTLaw will be hosting its annual LGBT symposium to discuss the legal issues facing the LGBT community in Mississippi and across the country.

Schedule of Events and Topics

8:15-8:45 Breakfast provided by Bottletree Bakery/Registration 8:50-9:45 Tax Law Following Windsor

Dean Richard Gershon, Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law and a noted scholar on tax and estate planning law

Diane Walton, Member of the Center for Southern Equality Legal Team

The  Supreme  Court’s  ruling  declaring  Section  3  of  the  Defense  of  Marriage  Act   (DOMA) unconstitutional was a major victory for the LGBT community. In order to fully take advantage of this victory, however, we must be able to understand and utilize our new rights. In no field is this more important than LGBT tax law. Tax laws remain among the most complicated regulations to follow and with state policies varying widely, the LGBT community needs help to unpack the changes following the DOMA decision. Speakers will discuss how state and federal laws interact and the many ways in which state laws have changed since June.

9:50-10:45 Gay and Trans Panic Legal Defenses

Ryan Scott, Associate Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Professor Michael Hoffheimer, Professor of Law and Leonard B. Melvin Lecturer at The University of Mississippi School of Law, Faculty Advisor for OUTlaw

Lousene Hoppe, Chair of LGBT Committee for the American Bar Association and Shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

D’Arcy  Kemnitz, Executive Director of the National LGBT Bar Association

In February 2013,  Marco  McMillian,  Mississippi’s  first  openly  gay  mayoral  candidate,   was murdered. He was beaten and burned, his car stolen by his assailant to flee. The assailant  has  indicated  to  the  press  that  he  plans  to  use  McMillian’s  sexual  orientation   against him in order to mitigate the charges. Gay panic and trans panic legal defenses are antiquated, prejudicial ideologies, remnants of a time when widespread public antipathy  was  the  norm  for  lesbian,  gay,  bisexual  and  transgender  (‘LGBT’)   individuals. These defenses  blame  victims’  sexual  orientation  or  gender  identity  for   the  defendant’s  violent  reaction.  In  so  doing,  they  claim  that  sexual  orientation  and   gender  identity  can  not  only  explain,  but  excuse,  a  perpetrator’s  loss  of  self-control and subsequent assault or murder of an LGBT individual. By fully or partially acquitting the perpetrators of crimes against LGBT victims, these defenses imply that LGBT lives are worth less than others. This panel will discuss how these panic defenses are commonly used and present recommendations to reduce their use and effectiveness.

10:50-11:45 Religion in LGBT Issues

Ashland Johnson, Policy Counsel at the National Center for Lesbian Rights

Anthony Michael Kreis, Ph.D Candidate, University of Georgia specializing in sexual orientation, public policy, social change, and the law

On March 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court will hear Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius and Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The two cases challenge whether corporations are legally allowed to deny their employees access to contraceptives  due  to  the  religious  beliefs  of  the  corporations’  owners.  Certainly,  these   cases will have a large impact on healthcare laws, but will also address the issue of religious freedom. Religious discrimination against LGBT individuals has long been a barrier to full equality. Speakers will focus on the intersection of religion and LGBT issues and how these upcoming cases could impact employment laws and the equality movement.

11:45-12:55 Lunch provided by Bottletree Bakery

Diversity in the Workplace presentation sponsored by FedEx

1:00-1:55 LGBT Identities in Sports

Erin Buzuvis, Director at the Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies and Professor of Law at the Western New England University School of Law

Ilona Turner, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center

Scott Skinner-Thompson, Associate at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and member of the Board of Directors of the Ingersoll Gender Center

As the LGBT community becomes increasingly accepted and supported, individuals, agencies and organizations must adjust to changing identities and policies. This panel asks how these changes have impacted the sports world, ranging from youth sports to the NCAA through professional leagues and even the Olympics. Athletes are coming out at higher rates than ever before, but there are still likely many closeted individual in a locker room. Has the homophobic culture in sports lessened at all? What rules govern transgender athletes? Is there a line between advocating for inclusion and creating an even playing field? Lastly, what impact will the Winter Olympics, held in Russia, a country which has banned LGBT propaganda, have on LGBT athletes? Speakers will attempt to answer these questions and generally analyze LGBT participation in sports across the country and internationally.

2:00-3:00 LGBT issues and Family Law

Dean Debbie Bell, UM School of Law Associate Dean for Clinical Programs and Professor of Law, specializing in family law

Diane Walton, Member of the Center for Southern Equality Legal Team

Denise Brogan-Kator, Adjunct law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and serves as the Senior Legislative Counsel for the Family Equality Council

Families come in many different forms. While family law may seem fairly straightforward, practitioners must be experienced in a number of different techniques and practice areas. No longer does family creation happen by accident as assisted reproductive technology including surrogacy, co-maternity and in vitro fertilization are becoming the norm. Family law practitioners have among the most varied areas of expertise including ethics, estate planning, elder law, domestic violence and LGBT youth. Additionally, the issue of ethics continually arises as practitioners face challenges including defining an attorney-client relationship, the affects state bans on marriage for same-sex couples have on representing clients and determining jurisdiction. Panelists will discuss the wide array of topics that fall under the family law category including the constant negotiation of complex ethical issues and how it impacts the profession.

3:05-4:00 HIV/AIDS

Ritchie Miller, (Moderator)

Rashida Richardson, Staff Attorney at the Center for HIV Law & Policy Ayako Miyashita, Brian Belt HIV Law & Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute

Eric Bailey, HIV patient-advocate working in Mississippi to root out discrimination and ignorance surrounding the disease.

Courtney Choi, Staff Attorney at the Mississippi Center for Justice, preventing HIV/AIDS-status-related discrimination at MS’s first Medical-Legal Partnership

The national perception surrounding HIV/AIDS is that we have successfully learned how to manage the disease; that the threat is lessened; and that rates of infection, transmission, and mortality have all crept towards zero. Gradually, HIV/AIDS has fallen  off  our  country’s  radar,  but  why?  There  are  still  hundreds  of  thousands  of   individuals who are living with HIV. Families across the country are impacted on a daily basis and we have not yet found a cure. Progress is being made, however. International policies have changed, especially those governing immigration rights. It is imperative that the LGBT community understand the victories that have been achieved as well as the work that is still left to do.

4:05-5:00 Trans Community

Denise Brogan-Kator, Adjunct law professor at the University of Michigan Law School and serves as the Senior Legislative Counsel for the Family Equality Council

Dr. Jennifer Stollman, (Moderator) Instructor and Academic Director of Racial Reconciliation, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

Dr. Jamison Green, Adjunct Professor of Transgender Law & Policy at the California Institute of Integral Studies and the President of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)

Ilona Turner, Legal Director of the Transgender Law Center

The field of transgender rights is constantly evolving. In the last year alone, we have witnessed major victories for voting rights and identity document policies, transgender children and health care. Panelists will discuss these recent achievements with  a  specific  focus  on  the  EEOC’s  Macy decision, which expanded the federal government’s  definition  of  “sex  discrimination”  to  include transgender and gender nonconforming government employees under Title VII. Additionally, name change clinics have made progress and remain among the most important arenas in the transgender rights movement. Learn about what is next for the transgender community and how the rest of the LGBT community can advocate for equality.

6:30-8:00 Cocktail  Reception  with  heavy  hors  d’oeuvres  at  SnackBar  

Please join us for a cocktail party and reception.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. A reception will follow.

Register for the event.